We’re introducing a new column here in our Beyond section today. It’s called The Bright Side and it will contain things designed to make you smile and restore your faith in humanity while we endure this quarantine and the anxiety that comes with the coronavirus pandemic. The Bright Side is for everyone, and will include stories from our area and beyond meant to be uplifting and light, or helpful to the community as a whole in some way. Let’s start it off with a story that comes from the north suburban community of Round Lake Heights.
If the coronavirus pandemic is disconcerting to you, it certainly is for children of all ages too–most especially because many of them don’t understand why they can’t go on playdates with their friends, or, for example, have the birthday parties their parents were carefully planning for them. We’ve already seen some heartwarming stories of people lining up on their elderly family members’ lawns or outside nursing homes with signs to let them know they care even though they can’t go in for a hug or some cake to try to brighten their spirits.
The north suburban Round Lake Heights Police Department has set up something just for this reason. Over the weekend via a post on the police department’s Facebook page, they announced that in lieu of school celebrations and large gatherings, they’ll help orchestrate a birthday parade in front of the birthday boy or girl’s house. Any resident of Round Lake Heights with a birthday between now and whenever the statewide order lifts is eligible, and all parents need to do to set up the parades is contact the parents of the children who would’ve been invited to the party to ask them to participate.
Would-be partygoers parents will then help their kids decorate the car itself or make signs to hold, and once a location, date and time are set, everyone will meet with a police officer who will then escort the procession from the assembly point past the birthday boy or girl’s house.
In the release, the police department suggests the birthday honoree stand on their front porch or on the front lawn, and that kids in the parade roll down their windows to yell out their birthday wishes, which will “hopefully make your child’s birthday at least a little special so they don’t feel cheated out of a party through no fault of their own.”
It’s a great idea that serves the community and helps to create a sense of community and calm for children, which is especially important in these challenging times, and we suspect that the parades will bring smiles to everyone’s faces. While this may not be possible in every jurisdiction statewide we certainly hope to see it happening in other communities as well. We all need something just a little special now and then to put our minds at ease.